Springboks

Pollard handed Bok debut

2014-06-25 12:07
Handré Pollard (Gallo Images)
Port Elizabeth - Baby Boks captain Handré Pollard is one of five uncapped players who have been named in the Springboks’ match-23 for Saturday’s final encounter of the Incoming Series against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.

In total, the Springbok starting team shows six changes from the side which beat Wales by 31-30 in Nelspruit last weekend.

The four uncapped players on a new-look bench are Marcel van der Merwe (prop), Stephan Lewies (lock), Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward) and Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf).

Also on the bench are Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Francois Hougaard and Zane Kirchner, none of whom have played any Test rugby yet this season.

Two players, Pollard and Marcell Coetzee, have not yet featured for the Springboks this year, while four of these are replacements who have been promoted to the starting team, namely Lwazi Mvovo, Schalk Burger, Lood de Jager and Coenie Oosthuizen.

Tendai Mtawarira (neck), Flip van der Merwe (knee) Willem Alberts (concussion) and Johan Goosen (knee) were not considered for selection this week. Goosen has been released from the squad and has returned to Bloemfontein to continue his final phase rehabilitation at the Cheetahs.

“We had to make a number of changes to the team and while team selection is never easy, especially this week when we had to make a few hard decisions, it’s been great to see the excitement under the players for this final Test of the series,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Our plans had always been to try a few new combinations this week against Scotland and I’m looking forward to see the guys grab their opportunities.”

Meyer said Pollard had always been part of his plans for the Incoming Series, but that his selection as SA Under-20 captain meant he could only join the squad this week.

“Handré is a very talented player and has a big opportunity this week, but he’ll have Fourie du Preez’s experience next to him, while he’s played a lot with Jan Serfontein before. It’s great to have the current and a former World Junior Player of the Year in the same backline.

“The other new faces in the starting line-up have been part of our squad for some time and they all deserve a run.”

On the composition of the bench, Meyer commented: “Adriaan, Trevor, Francois and Zane know what it’s about while the other guys will bring energy and enthusiasm with them.

“All of them deserve this chance. ‘Oupa’ still played Varsity and Vodacom Cup rugby earlier this season before he got an opportunity to play Super Rugby for the Cheetahs because of injuries. He took his chance and now he’s on the cusp of making his Test debut,” said Meyer.

“Marnitz and Marcel have shone for their franchises this year and patiently waited in the last couple of weeks, always working hard and putting in everything at our training sessions. Stephan only joined us on Monday, but he made an impression already at our training camp in Durban last month and slotted in without any problems this week.

“Marcel, Stephan, ‘Oupa’ and Marnitz all made their Super Rugby debuts earlier this year following injuries to other players and it’s great to see so many younger players come through the ranks.”

The Springboks will face a confident Scotland side on Saturday after they’ve beaten the USA, Canada and Argentina on tour in the last three weeks.

“They are always a tough opponent, like we saw last year in Nelspruit, but our aim is to build on the two victories over Wales in the last fortnight,” said Meyer.

Meanwhile, Van der Merwe has joined a long list of injured players who will not play again this season after he was ruled out for six months following examination by specialists in Pretoria. He injured his posterior cruciate ligaments.

Mtawarira, who has a bulging disc in his neck and consulted with a specialist in Durban earlier this week, will be monitored for the next two weeks before a decision on his return to the field will be made.

The following players missed out on the entire or part of the Incoming Series because of injury: Jean de Villiers (knee), Damian de Allende (knee) Eben Etzebeth (foot), Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pat Lambie (bicep), Frans Malherbe (concussion), Scarra Ntubeni (foot), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Franco van der Merwe (ankle), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Louis Schreuder (hand), Gio Aplon (elbow), Juan de Jongh (pneumonia), Mtawarira, Van der Merwe, Alberts and Goosen.

Seven players based in France and England have been released to their clubs and were not available for selection this week. They are Gurthrö Steenkamp, Schalk Brits, Bakkies Botha, Francois Louw, Morné Steyn, Wynand Olivier and Bryan Habana.

Kick-off for Saturday's Test at the Nelson Mandela Stadium is scheduled for 17:00.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Zane Kirchner

Scotland

TBA


Stats and facts:


 - The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 502 Test caps (157 in the backline and 345 in the forwards), while there are a further 91 caps worth of experience on the bench.

 - South Africa and Scotland have played each other 24 times since 1906, with the Springboks winning 19 Tests and losing five. The Springboks have scored 597 points and 75 tries and conceded 264 points and 27 tries for an average score of 25-11.

 - South Africa and Scotland last met on November 17, 2013 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. The Springboks won 28-0, scoring four tries in the process.

 - Victor Matfield will extend his record of 112 Tests for the Springboks as well as his record of 112 Tests as a lock for the Springboks.

 - If he scores a try, Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his brother Jannie will also be playing together in their 34th Test, which is a Springbok record for brothers.

 - Schalk Burger will extend his record as the most capped Springbok flank, with 68 Tests in this position. He also shares the record with Juan Smith for the most Test tries as a flank (11).

 - Handré Pollard will become Springbok No 857.

 - Coenie Oosthuizen will be starting at loosehead prop for the first time in a Test. Last year he played tighthead against France in his only other start.

 - The whole front-row of Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis comes from one school - Grey College in Bloemfontein. Adriaan Strauss (reserve hooker) as well as Marcel van der Merwe (reserve prop) are also old Grey pupils.

 - The referee is Glen Jackson of New Zealand. This will be his first Test involving South Africa. The former Chiefs and Saracens flyhalf started refereeing in 2010.

Read more on:    springboks  |  handré pollard  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
254 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
    04:00
  • SS4
    Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
    05:00
  • SS5
    Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
    05:59
  • SS7
    Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
    06:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will win this year's Rugby Championship?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.